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What are the Different Types of Jobs in the Oil Industry?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Workers all over the world are employed in a variety of different jobs in the oil industry. These jobs fall into one of the three phases of oil production: exploration, refinement, or distribution. Some jobs, such as gas station sales clerks, are entry-level positions, while others, such as drilling jobs, involve specialist training. Engineers, mechanics, and commodities traders all play an important role in the oil industry.

Before drilling for oil can begin, oil companies first have to locate pockets of oil hidden beneath the Earth. There are many jobs in this industry for geologists and geophysical engineers who study rocks for traces of hydrocarbons and use seismic readings to try to predict where heavy concentrations of oil can be found. These engineers and scientists must also determine whether oil reserves are accessible, and what costs would be involved in extracting the oil.

Drilling jobs are among the most widely known of the jobs in the oil industry. The drillers dig test wells in areas that the geologists believe oil to be. Typically, drilling rigs include a crew of workers whose jobs range from actually operating the rotary drills to conducting safety checks on the drilling platform. Engineers and mechanics work alongside drilling teams to ensure that the machinery works correctly and that oil pockets can be penetrated. Production teams move in if the exploratory team finds sufficient oil to warrant the digging of a well, and these teams are also comprised of engineers, drillers, and mechanics.

Many jobs in the oil industry involve the transportation of oil. Barge operators and oil tanker crews have to safely transport oil from rigs to onshore locations. Helicopter pilots and small boat crews ferry production workers between rigs and, when necessary, carry medical crews to rigs. There are many jobs for truck drivers who bring crude oil to refineries and transport refined oil to gas stations and oil wholesalers.

The people involved in selling oil have some of the most important jobs in the industry. Commodities traders sell barrels of oil on the open market, and their ability to get the best price directly impacts the company's profits. Wholesalers employ traders to buy oil from refineries, and in turn agree to contracts to sell oil in the form of gasoline to gas stations around the world. The only customer centered jobs are clerks and sales people in gas stations.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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